Social Media Ad Effectiveness: A break down

Social Media these days has become a lot less about being social with your friends, and more about what target audience you’ll fit into to be served an ad by a brand you may or may not follow. It was an inevitable shift on social platforms across the board, and most brands and businesses saw the opportunity to hit an audience where they choose to be. But when it comes to where your business should be when it comes to social advertising, it’s always a tricky one to measure depending on your brand.

The latest eMarketer report might make that a bit easier, as they asked 29 companies to grade each social media advertising property in terms of its return of investment, targeting, creative capacities and measurement. This effectively indicated each platforms strengths and how they differ. Social media advertising overall gained a grade of B, which highlights some areas of improvements.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were seen as the top social platforms for advertising. However Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest were noted as key emerging networks that are showing a great deal of growth and effectiveness. Facebook in particular was rated highly in terms of its targeting and delivering a high return of investment. This is not surprising when you consider the number of different advertising formats available on Facebook and the constant updates being made to the platform. Carousel ad formats for example are ten times more effective at drawing traffic to advertisers websites than static posts.

LinkedIn was rewarded for its ad targeting, whereas Twitter performed strongly in creative, ad targeting, measurement  and analytic s. However the return of investment and driving sales was noted as weak on the social platform. Pinterest received a relatively high score in each category which may be due to it’s roots in e-commerce.

What is particularly important to note from this report is that each social media channel has its own merits and should be used differently depending on the overall objectives. For example SnapChat and Instagram received high grades in creative and building brand awareness and engagement. However due to the newness of their ad platform capabilities, they received lower grades in measurement and return of investment.

Graph sourced from eMarketer


Executives did highlight that there is still room for improvements across the board. Measurement was the primary concern for ad executives, as they found it hard to measure how effective social media advertising has on the bottom line.

Video advertising was another noteworthy category, as it has created a range of new opportunities for marketers. This report gave an average grade of B+ to both Facebook and YouTube in terms of video effectiveness, with both platforms fulfilling different video needs. For example on Facebook brands are altering their strategy to short messages that can still tell a story with no sound.

Do you use paid social media advertising? Can you think of any other emerging social media properties?

copyright FRANk Media 2018